Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist, president of CEimpact discusses the business of continuing education for pharmacists.
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Mike Koelzer, Host: [00:00:00] Jen, for those who haven't come across you online, introduce yourself and tell our listeners what we're talking about today.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: I am Jen Moulton. I am president of CE impact and we are a continuing education company, uh, for pharmacists. And today we're talking about the business of lifelong learning.
Mike Koelzer, Host: All right, Jen. So I see your company and I see the president and I. My pharmacy. There's some reasons when I'm supposed to say president and reasons, when I'm supposed to say CEO and owner kind of thing. I forget all the legal reasons for that, but who, who actually owns CE impact,
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah. So, I actually owned the company.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Why don't you put the owner there?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: I think it's the way that I interact with my team. we're a remote team. we're a small organization. We have about 15 people. and I work alongside them. I call them a team and not really my employees or staff. I just feel like that fosters a better environment and that's really important to us as a remote organization.
Mike Koelzer, Host: You're remote. Do you ever feel like you have to get together? Do you guys have like, uh, you know, I don't know, you probably have men working for you too. You have
like a women's wine night or something like that
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Well, it's an interesting question. So, you know, we, we sort of prided ourselves on this even before. COVID and it was a little bit difficult, honestly, because people didn't wanna meet online when they found out that we weren't all in the same place. They're, you know, a little bit confused by that.
So, that's actually been kind of a blessing of COVID, uh, for us as people understand our world now. We are actually meeting for the first time in a couple of months here, as a full group. So I, you know, I've met some of them, but there's people who've worked for me for almost three years now that I have never met in person. It sounds crazy, but we just, we haven't had that opportunity to, to be at a live meeting or be together.
And so we are all getting together in a couple of months and then, uh, we have a leadership team.
There's three of us on our leadership team and we all agreed actually just this past summer that we, uh, we had met quarterly and now we're gonna start to meet every other month. and none of us are in the same place. So it's a little bit difficult and expensive to do that, but it's really important for collaboration.
I think it's easy to work remotely, but not easy to collaborate and really have some of those strategic discussions, uh, which really need to happen when everybody's in the room.
Mike Koelzer, Host: yeah. With COVID, you know, it was like, I wondered what it was going to do long term, like, would I be shaking people's hands, you know
and, and this kind of stuff. It seems like almost all of that has come back when you think about businesses. Yeah. They can do it, but I think there's going to be almost like a, oh, like a cookie cutter approach that everybody's gonna know this in a couple years.
You know, we do this remotely, but when it comes to that, that's always in person, you know? And it seems to me that no one quite knows right now, but I think that's gonna get settled down where it's almost gonna be an industry standard.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah, I think you're right. I was just telling somebody the other day, I think the ideal is to be able to have meetings and collaborate and do strategic planning in person, but then when it comes to sort of heads down work,
At least I personally do my best in my office.
you know, sort of without, you know, distractions and that sort of thing. I think it would be hard, for me anyway, personally, to go in the office a few days out of the office a few days, you know, for me, I have my setup and I can go fast when I have that set up.
And if I had to, you know, sort of reestablish that in a couple different places throughout the week, I think that would be a little bit tougher. So I think it's gonna be really
Mike Koelzer, Host: So, Jen, when you say you bought the company, what was the biggest asset of the company? Was it the computer program you were working on? Was it the professional networks that you had? Was there already a subscription base when you think back, what was most valuable to buy and is that the same as what would've been the toughest to build on your own?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: mm-hmm yeah, that's a great question. I think it's a couple things really, I think who we were, and sort of our reputation in the marketplace was really important. And then I think about technology too, although I hesitate a little bit because we've completely, sort of started from scratch.
After I purchased it, we created a new learning management system, and that is valuable because it was expensive to do. but, we sort of redid that. So I think it's really, I think it, it takes a while to establish yourself in the marketplace and get the reputation that you have.
So I think that was really probably the most valuable, you know, we, we, we did some things, in education that really gave us a good reputation in terms of the quality of what we do and, and what we provide. And so I think that was really the biggest benefit.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I know you can't judge a book by its cover. But your website sure is nice. It's flashy. It's hip, you know?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah. Well, [00:05:00] thank you. You know, it's intentional. I feel like, when I started in continuing education, that was one of the things that I really noticed is that CE was sort of old school. you know, it just looked academic, it didn't look inviting. People had this check, the box mentality, because of that, because when they went into it, it was like, Ugh, I have to sit down and do CE.
And so that was really intentional with what we wanted to do. We wanted a brand that was fresh and fun and innovative. not just in the way that it looks, but also in the way that we provide the education.
So we have different ways of doing that. We have podcasts that you can get CE for. We have weekly emails that we send out cases that are real quick to, you know, read on your phone.
So, that is that branding is really intentional. The other thing we noticed is that it was sort of clunky when you're in a learning management system and, you know, there's a lot of clicks and again, sort of old school. And so we really worked hard to try to kind of update that and,
you know, it's expensive to keep up with the Amazons and those things, but, you know, to try to at least, you know, stay ahead of the game in terms of technology, was, was definitely intentional.
Mike Koelzer, Host: There was a church that got a cease or desist. I think it was just a cease desist a week ago or so, because they took the musical Hamilton and they turned it into like a church service, those things
just like either cringy to me, you know, I can't even watch some of that stuff cuz it's cringy. But you talk about breaking out a little bit. Are we gonna see a Shakespeare play with CE information or like a drama? You know what I mean? It's like the CE is so boring to me, you know, doing it for the last 30 some years,
whatever. It's so boring. And it's like, you know, remember like, schoolhouse rock,
You know, I'm a bill. and all that stuff.
I want a CE like schoolhouse rock and I need your company to be the one to do it. You already have a cool website. So can we bring some of that stuff on?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah, well, sure. I'll, I'll have to give you credit for that. If we decide to go that direction. You know, it's an interesting question. And, and I've, you know, we've tried to sort of do this, um, you know, we keep up on a lot of, you know, learning technologies and, you know, different things that people are doing.
And if you remember, I mean, this is still a thing, but, you know, back when they started with the avatars and, you know, that was gonna be the big, huge thing where you could put yourself into a pharmacy and sort of do that simulation. And, you know, they had some of those SIM labs and things, and those things are so expensive.
Um, so I think that was partly why it didn't catch on, but also because, you know, at least for me, it's like when you're in a pharmacy all day and then you come home and, you know, do you really wanna sit on a computer and do that again? But, you know, to your point, if it's sort of video game-ish, you know, maybe that's more interesting.
I think it'll be interesting to see what happens. I think there's. You know, there's a level of what can be done and, you know, it's, you know, the expense and all of that and how many people you're impacting as well. You know, pharmacy is only so big, so it's not like you have millions and millions of people that are accessing these things.
But, yeah, I think it's an interesting concept and, you know, we've tried to make it interesting and fun, you know, within our budget, so to speak. So, you know, like with the podcast, one of our goals is really to make learning a habit so that you're kind of constantly learning and, you know, not saying that we're like, you know, sticking it in like your vegetables in the brownies or anything, but, you know, kind of trying to just sort.
I'll always be doing that so that you don't feel like you're sitting down to a boring two hour webinar that you have to, you know, do to check the box, but it's, you know, if you can pick up a case on your phone on a Friday and be like, oh, that's interesting. I just had a patient that, you know, I needed to know.
So we're kind of trying to do that and, and make that learning a habit rather than, you know, you're right. To sit down and listen to a two hour webinar. That is the last thing that I wanna do on a weekend. so we recognize that
Mike Koelzer, Host: Cause I think I'm first in line for people that have insomnia. If you look up on Google, my podcast is up on top and
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Oh, I don't think
Mike Koelzer, Host: CE
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Oh, I don't think so. Well, that's the other point though? I think if it's, if it's something that you're interested in, it pulls you in. If it's CE just to get CE, because you have to check the box, that's when it's boring, because you're not, you're not engaged in it.
You don't need to know it. So, you know, that was really why we got, um, really involved in C P D or continuing professional development. In the early two thousands, I was really active in this and, and the whole point was I heard from people, I don't like being a pharmacist anymore. I'm getting burned out.
It's not interesting to me. And it's like, well, if we can make that learning fun and applicable to your practice and you know, something that you can feel engaged in and, and, and, you know, as you learn, you implement that in your practice and you can kind of make that connection. you know, I think everybody wins
Mike Koelzer, Host: i, I think that's the key, what you've mentioned there about, are you going to use it and I'll put in that comment too. Have you remembered it? And it makes me think of. Superbowl ads, for example, [00:10:00] where they say, which ad was the best ad. It's like, yeah, that's a big difference between best slash memorable slash what did it do for the product?
Because you can remember a lot of stuff, but then you, it's kind of cliche. It's like, all right, great ad. What was it about that a lot of people don't know? And then even if they know what it's about, have, has their emotions been tickled to even do something with it? So I suppose my question in jest of, make it more exciting, it's like, well, what does that mean though?
Is it useful?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah. And our mission is connecting, learning to practice for that exact reason. Uh, because I think, you know, I, when I purchased the company as an example, I don't have a business background. I got my pharmacy degree and I'm in continuing education and have done that for a lot of years, but I'd never owned a business.
So I inundated myself with podcasts and webinars and went to conferences to learn about running a business. And so I was just soaking that up because it was interesting to me and I needed it and I was implementing those things day to day.
and so I think that's the same for pharmacies. If you can really find the stuff that is applicable to you and to your patients and to your practice, that's when it's interesting.
And that's really what we're trying to do.
because you know, and it's, so it's frustrating to me when boards of pharmacy, as an example, will require CE in certain areas because they think that's gonna have an impact. I call it the shoe bomber, you know, like when there was a big compounding issue, the answer was for the board to come back and require compounding CE well, not everybody compounds.
Why should every licensed pharmacist in that state have CE on compounding? It
doesn't make any
Mike Koelzer, Host: Here's the problem with, people in positions that they wanna hold onto example I give is like, being the custodian in charge of the indoor pool at the high school, where, when you go to those high school pools, I mean, you can smell chlorine from like three miles away, you know, and you go in, you know, and you're, you gotta crack your suit out of your bag, cuz it's all crusty and stuff like that from the chlorine. And if I was one of those custodians, the pool boy, I guess you could call 'em in a, in a high school. Aquatic.
center. I'm gonna get in trouble. If the pool's green, I'm not gonna get in trouble, though.
If I go with, you know, two times a chlorine to kind of
cover myself, and it's unfortunate in this world now, especially with the cancel culture that most positions, you're better off playing it safe, and you see it across the board and a lot of times you think. Really, no one suffers from playing it safe. But look at me, I don't swim as much as I want to. The quiet person goes away when everybody else is playing it safe. And so you're right with the CE I think of, you know, what the boards are mandating is like, does that mean though?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think, you know, it's one thing they can control, you know, and I, and, and there are people that, you know, you need to have the, the minimum bar be so high.
so I understand that and, but it is, it is frustrating as a professional who, you know, we should be guiding all that. And, and honestly, I think that's why there's some burnout because we are so overregulated.
Even in CE, that we don't control our own destiny, you know, we're not controlling our own lifelong learning path. and so we're really, you know, we're advocates of that. We want to walk with you on your lifelong learning path and, you know, that's really why we do what we do be. And we're trying to, to provide enough out there so that you can kind of do your, you know, what's important to you rather than, you know, you just have to get this it's, it is frustrating.
but I do understand it. You know, there's gotta be some minimums that we all aspire to, but I'm hoping that we all, you know, truly, if we look at the education that we get, it's, you know, we're required to get 30 hours a year. I think I probably get at least 150, you know, you just you're out there doing it.
you're just not maybe recording it.
Mike Koelzer, Host: don't
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Well, you are pro you're learning from these podcasts.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I get my 30 CE, but thinking about S what. Constitutes a CE how much latitude is there. For example, like this show, I've seen some shows turned into CE for various podcasts.
The last thing I think I want is structure where I gotta cover something because the guts of this show is going wherever we wanna go.
And I'd be concerned if I had to put it into a certain lane, but with my show, for example, or something, that's not down the clinical heart of pharmacy. And that could be anything from business to psychology, to, some business, outliers, marketing, and sales and things like that. [00:15:00] What constitutes a CE and who is in charge of that?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: So you have to establish the need. There are 11 things. You have to write good learning objectives. You have to have good teaching materials. You have to give the participant an opportunity to evaluate it. You have to assess what they've learned.
You have to allow them to assess what they've learned. So, you know, there's a lot of things that make that up and, and there are reasons for that. So what we say, we've been starting to do education that isn't necessarily accredited, because like I said, with your podcast, like, you're learning. I mean, I listen to your podcast and I learn.
Something new every time, at least, you know, one thing during each episode. So we're constantly learning, but it's not always that accredited CE. so it's a fine, you know, it's sort of a fine line that we walk, but I think the biggest thing is the non commercialism. So, you know, here's a good example.
We did a point of care testing. of course we created that during COVID because that was something that pharmacists needed, you know, pretty quickly we had to create that. but then the companies that make those point of care tests, are really the best people to educate the pharmacists on those, because every test is a little bit different, you know, it's hard for us to say, okay, here's 50 different tests.
And then, you know, here's how you do each one of 'em. So it's better for that company to come in and educate you on how to do that. They can't give CE for that,
but because it's their product and, you know, ultimately they wanna sell you their product. but it's a really good education and you need it to do your job.
Mike Koelzer, Host: All right. So those 11 make sense or the ones I heard make sense, but I'm still missing Jen. I'm assuming it has to be in a certain focus. I mean, it can't be on farm equipment. I
didn't hear in there where
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah,
Mike Koelzer, Host: was and what is that?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: sure. So there's a definition of continuing education that a C P E has. you can look it up on their website. and so it basically has to do with what we would do in pharmacy practice, and sort of generally, so it can't really be something that's required for your job. So for example, you can't be, you can't go through education to train on your new device, for example, or your new, you know, your computer system that you utilize in your pharmacy, your dispensing system, that's something that you do on your job, but something that educates you as a pharmacist that you could then take to another job. So I like to think about it, you know, everything that we learned in pharmacy school, you know, six years, period of time.
and then you have these 40 years, that is your lifelong learning. And so it's an extension of that. So really anything that you would've learned in pharmacy school is considered continuing education. So if you could kind of put it in that context, you know, you wouldn't have learned about farm equipment in pharmacy school.
so anything that you would've learned while in school, is, is part of that lifelong learning. So it can be clinical, it can be law, it can be patient safety, immunizations, you know, there's all, I think there's like eight or 10 categories now, of EDU that we, you know, kind of group those into.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Would mine satisfy that or not, it's kind of, uh, it's businessy and would somebody who had a psychology thing of theirs, uh, employees are, you know, a sales thing for the store floor. Yes or no.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: I think some of them would, the ones that I've listened to, some of them would some of them wouldn't
Mike Koelzer, Host: who would look at something and say, you're not talking about medicine, but you're talking about something else. And I can understand maybe counseling. I get that stuff who makes a DEC and this is all just theoretical. I don't necessarily want to do this.
It sounds like too much damn work. Who makes that decision to say this is too far out? Let's say one of 'em is, how to be, considerate and impatient with your customers that seem to have. More mental challenges or have listening challenges
or, you know, like I say, some different psychology stuff or business stuff. Somebody is making that decision to say yay or nay. I know all the requirements, but who makes a decision and slash how, when it comes to things that are off the beaten path. I've been curious about my show, but like I said, that's not my intention, but I like listening to shows that are kind of out there a little bit, you know, not too far out, but I can see that it touches my business in some way.
So who makes that decision?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Uh, as the provider we do. So, all of all accredited providers, a C P E basically every seven years says, show me what you've done and prove to us that you're a good provider and we have to go through this whole, reaccreditation process essentially. and so we then are given sort of the power to say yes or no.
And so we have to tell a C P E we know what we're doing.
you know, we, you know, these are the sorts of things that we do and why we do them. And so they have confidence then in us as a provider to accredit that.
Mike Koelzer, Host: And if you had outliers out there too far out there, might question
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yes. Yes. [00:20:00] Yes. So there's a process where you can report to ACP. P if you see something that shouldn't be CE, and then when you go up for that reaccreditation, if they see something that they're like, uh, not sure about this, they'll kind of put you on, you know, you have to submit an interim report and, you know, go through all of this sort of re questioning to make sure that they have trust in you, that you're doing the right things.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I imagine it's kind of a tight rope because you don't want to cross it on the negative side. On the positive side. You want to probably open up Your repertoire to more interests and so on. And I would imagine that with the different accredited providers that you kinda watch each other, you know, and it's like, oh, that guy did this.
So maybe we can kind of go in that area. How many providers are there? How many are accredited like yours?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Uh, that's a great question. definitely over a hundred. I wanna, for some reason I have like 120.
150 in my head.
but there are people like associations, there are med ed companies similar to us, there's schools of pharmacy, hospitals, all of that. yeah. And everybody kind of does it for a different reason.
you know, for example, a hospital wants to do in-service and grand rounds, so they'll be accredited so that they can provide that education internally to their teams
and, know, meet some of their quality measures or, you know, whatever their reason is
Mike Koelzer, Host: In the past, we would see it where, you know, Purdue or something like that, they'd have an official CE it counted for. So they probably did enough stuff. They talked about enough different products, but then you'd see the sales guy there somehow they did the, the handling of the money, you know?
So it wasn't a direct payment. It was something.
Are those still around or are those getting clamped down on pretty
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah, those are really clamped down on, in the early two thousands, they really clamped down on those. And you saw all the, well, I'll give you an example. The reason I even got interested in education was because I did an internship at Glaxo and this is dating myself. So, back then Glaxo actually did CE. It was accredited CE.
And then you saw, you know, sort of 10 years after that, then it was like, you can't do that anymore. And you have to go, you know, you have to get a grant for it, an
educational grant. And then those got even a little stricter over time where you have to go on a website and you can't even say really what you're talking about.
You just have to say like, these are the people we're gonna talk about. This is in general, what we're doing. And then the company would give you money and they call it an independent grant. So, the company has a lot of rules about not being able to control that. you know, any of the content it's, it's in my purview as a provider.
and now I think we're seeing that even a step further, at least in the continuing education world, there's brand new standards this year, that a, a rep for a company, if they have, even if you own stock in a pharmaceutical company, you can't serve as a speaker,
on, on a topic that would relate to a drug that they have.
So they've gotten really strict about that.
For a while there, we could use, as an example, like medical science liaisons with the companies, we could still use them as speakers because they were sort of a little bit removed and we can't do that any longer.
So that's pretty strict. and I think you're even seen on the practice side. and I think a lot of organizations used COVID for this, but, you know, there's even clinics and hospitals that don't allow drug reps anymore. So even though that isn't, you know, continuing education, they're not even allowing them to come in and educate their,
you know, physicians
Mike Koelzer, Host: They're gonna carve that out now because a lot of 'em couldn't for COVID and they're gonna say, I mean, you see it across the board, you know, people have switched hairdressers and everything, and gonna do that for the reps, cuz they probably really don't like 'em there a lot of times
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah, I think, I, I think it's a lot of work. but I do, you know, you hear from providers that they like it that's, you know, that's where they learn
about their So, well, we, yeah, we are working with a couple organizations, and they said, you know, we have to figure something out because our physicians are upset that, you know, they're not gonna get this education anymore.
It's like, oh, there's so much education out there, but it was easy, you know, the rep came to them and so they didn't have to seek it out and, you know, find
an example. So we have to figure out how we can make that easy for them to
get, you know, evidence based, unbiased education in, you know, the same way that they got that biased information.
Mike Koelzer, Host: What would happen if you woke up this morning and you found out that you were a high school science teacher and you don't know how the hell you got there, you just woke up and you were a high school science teacher. What feelings would be going through your mind?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Well,
Mike Koelzer, Host: Because I hear education from you. And
I'm just wondering, because I always thought I might want to be a teacher and I end up like training my staff sometimes like two of 'em in a row. And I I get sick of hearing myself talk, believe it or
not. It's the duplicate stuff.
What would your feelings be?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Well, I'm in the same boat. I am not an educator per se. I like to lead the education. So I think, you know, yeah, I think my sweet spot is really being able to put, put on the hat of the learner and say, how would I want
Mike Koelzer, Host: Hmm,
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: in new and different ways. My daughter's gonna be a teacher as an example, and she's in college right now.
She's a junior and everything she's taking. I think that sounds terrible. I would be the worst teacher, I just would not be a good teacher. So what we do and, you know, sort of the way I started in education is I hired the experts. You know, I like to say, like, here's what I want the end product to be. Brene Brown says this is great, like paint, it's done.
Like, what should that look like? What do I want the learner to learn? But then to really develop the education and, you know, use all of those best practices for educating.
I am not the right person for that.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Do you have kind of a love for learning or could you really be the president of anything?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Well, I do have a love for learning and all the people on our team are lifelong learners. That's one of our requirements when we hire people, you know, we all love to learn new things. And I think that contributes to us sort of being on the cutting edge as we're learning how other, other groups do things.
And we think, oh, we could bring that to pharmacy education and, you know, kind of spin it this way. So, yeah, I think I could do other things, but you know, my real passion is pharmacy practice. I'm not sure I could bring that passion to another industry. but I'm definitely a lifelong learner and I could do it if I needed to.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I went to one of the first N CPA, pharmacy ownership training schools back like 30 years ago. And I remember I hate group stuff like where you gotta, you know, not break off into groups. I hate that. Everybody hates that, but. They made us break off. They'd say, if you were dropped in the middle of Alaska, how would you get out? And everybody did their individual thought process. Then they put a group of like six people together and they said, now six of you work together, come up with something in 20 minutes. And across the board, everybody came up with better ideas from all six of them.
I'm kind of a lone ranger now, besides the podcast, I'm kind of a lone ranger.
I don't see a lot of pharmacists. It's kind of cool if CE would force that, you know, like force six of us into a zoom or something and have this objective and come up with those ideas. It'd be neat to, have some of that.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah, we try to do some of that. We did a lot of it during COVID, honestly, because we just felt that need to connect. and we were hearing that from people like, they just really missed that.
and through some of the virtual meetings that we did, yeah, we, we did some great virtual meetings where we'd have, you know, exactly like that somebody would be in the room and then we'd break off into small groups and kind of talk about a different case or something and bring that back.
so technology's really cool that way and that you can do
Mike Koelzer, Host: They get credit for that though? Yeah, definitely. But it has to be structured. you know, the, the education piece of it needs to be structured and there has to be learning objectives and, you know, what are you trying to do with, you know,
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: breaking people into this case and that kind of thing.
Mike Koelzer, Host: call it a live
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: yeah, yeah. Definitely a live CE. You know, social learning I think is really important too.
So we do some of that in the app where we'll, you know, post questions about, you know, in new immunization guidelines and, you know, ask people to kind of weigh in. I, you know, I love that in business, I try to learn from what other people are doing and, you know, that's, that's one of the reasons I love your podcast and learning about, you know, different ways that people lead teams and, you know, some of the creative things that they're doing.
So, yeah, I think it's great that we can all learn from each other. And, and I think we're gonna see more of that.
Mike Koelzer, Host: What's the biggest threat to your business, whether it's competition or pharmacy boards or, fickle consumers, what's the biggest threat to your business as you look out.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: I think for us, you know, there are competitors in the space. I, you know, I know what differentiates us. From that, but I do worry about pharmacists burnout, because I think with that, we're seeing people just don't care. They're like, I don't care about getting CE, you know, they don't, they just they're, they're starting to just not care.
And we, you know, we don't wanna just throw CE out there again, that you like, check the box and just get it done. Like we wanna engage people. We, you know, I think that's how we all learn and you know, all boats rise, if we can learn together in ways that you just described. So I think, you know, that's what worries me the most is that people are just disengaged, because the more they're engaged, the more they wanna learn and the more they wanna improve.
and that's really what gets us fired up and, you know, and, and makes us to, to create. education. and if people don't want that, if they're not taking advantage of it, then we're not able to create it, cuz we don't have a market for it. and then it just sort of gets, you know, we don't, we don't wanna create this stuff.
That's just checking the box. That's boring for us. So as long as people stay engaged in the innovative stuff, that's what drives us and, and makes us be more innovative for them.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Devil's advocate. You have a captive audience because everybody who's a [00:30:00] pharmacist has to get 30 hours and there might be disengagement, but unless there's so much disengagement that now that they let their license lapse and they're out of the industry. It's a captive audience. So are you saying that there's so much disengagement that they're like F the whole thing?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Well, I think there's a lot of CE out there. That's just easy to check the box.
And so what we do, you know, maybe takes a little bit more effort or, you know, people have to say, oh yeah, this is really good education. That's why I want yours over somebody else's that might be free industry supported, just, you know, just get it done
kind of thing.
Mike Koelzer, Host: And what would you say the difference of a good CE versus not a good CE would be like, if you were to sell somebody, you had two articles sitting there, what would you point out? Is that different or better from run of the mill?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: So we really make sure that every CE we provide connects learning to practice. So it's, you know, you can learn, you can, you know, memorize all the facts and get that knowledge based education. But if you can't really apply that to help patients and to improve your practice or improve your business, then that really doesn't do you a lot of good.
So everything that we do has to kind of have that we sort of internally say it has to have that component where we say, okay, here's the seven things you need to know right now.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Jen, out of your employees, how many did you say you work?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: uh, we have about 15 people.
Mike Koelzer, Host: 15. All right. I know those 15 are perfect. And you're the perfect boss. , but if you had that 16th person and they were no good and you had to fire them, why would that be?
What kind of things are they doing or not doing? You have to fire them for
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Well, because we're remote from our team work. And, you know, the way that we collaborate together is really important. So I would say that they would be kind of a loner doing their own thing and not following the vision of what all of us are trying to work towards every day. That would probably be the biggest thing short of, you know, not doing their work obviously.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Besides you looking at someone and, you know, feeling they have the vision of the business and so on, what kind of production are you looking for? Is it a certain amount of articles? What would that output be?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah. So we look at a lot of things. We actually follow the EOS process. I don't know if you're familiar with that, but it's an entrepreneurial operating system. and it's great for people like me who, you know, I'm a pharmacist, so I kind of need that prescription, like, you know, tell me exactly how to do it.
So this was one of the best things for me when, when I first started the business, it's a book called, traction and it literally sits on my desk. It's right here. I look at it all the time. but it really just sort of guides the way that your business should operate. and so, you know, you have a mission and a vision and you have, kind of a scorecard and things that you look at on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly basis in order to guide.
To guide you and you have rocks every quarter. So like every 90 days you have, you know, besides the day to day, there's certain things that, you know, big things that you're working on that moves the company forward. so we sort of use that as sort of our guidepost, you know, we follow the meeting structure.
We have an all team meeting every Tuesday morning and it's just sort of a touch base on what everybody's working on and what, you know, collaboration they need from other people. And, you know, the most important thing that week for them and how we can help. and then, you know, we have meetings where our leadership team meets every quarter and looks at, you know, what was our revenue?
What was the profit? How many courses did we sell? How many people took the courses? What did they think of the courses? Are we, you know, are we meeting what the market needs from us? so that's really what we are, what we look like.
Mike Koelzer, Host: This is a big confession for me.
I've never told anybody this before, but after I wake up, I'm listening to like an hour CE after I set my alarm to wake up, like at minute 58, and then they give me all the, questions and I'm gonna admit that all those people weren't as good as I said, they were. I'm just going down the number fives and filling them in.
So I can get this thing off my screen and get my credit. How are you? get real feedback. And it's kind of similar to a restaurant, you know, they come over. It's like, how's your food? It's like, it's good. It's
not always good, but I don't wanna cause a scene and that kind of stuff So I feel
they don't really wanna know how do you fight that?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: yeah. We call that survey fatigue. and a lot of people have it. I hate you know, you're going through and just checking the boxes. we look at comments, you know, we, we do have some open fields in those evaluations and if we're getting, you know, good, not everybody comments, but if, you know, the majority of the comments are positive, you know, that's a [00:35:00] good sign.
we don't get a lot of negative comments, but when we do, we take those. And so, you know, people might say, well, it's an N of one. It is, but it's the way somebody felt. And so we do evaluate that and say, okay, is it an N of one, or is there something that we could do to improve that?
But I think this is the true marker.
How many people utilize our courses or, you know, how many partners contact us and say, oh, I've heard of you. You know, everybody says you're great. Or, you know, whatever they say, you know, that's, that's a real, Testament. So we work. For example, we work with 80 schools of pharmacy and provide preceptor education.
And, you know, we started just doing that in the state of Iowa for two people. And that has organically grown. We have really not sold that per se. so I think that's a great testimonial, you know, to what we provide. So we really look at, you know, what, how many people are taking our courses. We have a membership, so they, you know, they can take everything or they can take nothing.
But if people are taking a lot of courses that tells me that they liked it and
they're not just going through and saying, oh yeah, this is great. Cuz they're gonna take another one. And if they didn't think it was that great, they wouldn't take another one.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Pharmacists have always kind of worked on a membership thing. It's unspoken, but it's refills, every month. And this is through pharmacy's history. Now, the buzzword is membership and subscriptions. A lot of people are trying to do it. And, you know, I'm even hearing now that, the new cars, you have to
pay a subscription for your key dongle for it to zap your car
kind of stuff.
Everybody wants a subscription, I would imagine that's an important part of the business.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: we actually just started this,
a couple of years ago. So we weren't that model. but I think it goes back to, we want people to learn and so we wanna make it super easy for them. So that's the easiest way we can PR you know, we can give you all this stuff. We can just push it out to you and you can decide whether you
do it or.
Mike Koelzer, Host: to eat. Yep.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah. Not whether you can, you know, pay 10 bucks today to get that course. We don't wanna make it hard for you to access it. and it also goes back to our business model of, you know, not really, just creating education based on a grant that we get. So, you know, there are a lot of companies that will get a grant and then they develop the education.
And so that can be made available for free. And we don't do that. We have, you know, we have costs associated with it. So from a cost standpoint, that's why, but from a learner standpoint, the true reason is because we just wanna give you everything and make it easy. you know, a lot of times like I'll listen to the podcast and maybe I don't get CE.
Maybe I do. Like,
It doesn't matter to me, but I'm constantly learning. And that's the important thing
Mike Koelzer, Host: Some of it matters how physically hard it is to do it because like podcasts, when you say that you have extra CE, I'm thinking of being in line for a firing squad. And if this guy doesn't shoot me, the next guy's going to, you know, it's like, they're all bad to me.
And so I don't wanna spend any time on them, but if it's like a podcast or something, then yeah, I can see myself listening cuz you do, you know, you listen to
podcast without that need for credit. So a lot of it has to do with, know, your desires and
How much something puts you out or not.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: yeah. Yeah. And that's really, what we try to do. So we have four different products that we just sort of push out to people and then whatever resonates for them, you know, great. If, you know, they might be on vacation this week and they're not gonna listen to the podcast or look at the case, you know, that we send via email, but, or, you know, it's not something that interests them because they don't have patience.
You know, maybe it's on oncology and you know, they don't necessarily need that. so I, I think it's just, but then I find myself listening to things that I wouldn't have. There was one Lyme disease that we did, maybe last year it was a while ago. but I was like, I don't really need to know that.
And then I listened to it. I'm super interested. And then I saw it in the media and then I was able to, you know, answer questions. So sometimes you don't know what you don't know or what you want to know. So I think the more we can, you know, break down those barriers of, you know, having to pay to do a Lyme disease, CE I'm never gonna do that, but if I can just listen to it and learn something, that's really our goal.
Mike Koelzer, Host: I think that happens a lot. Like I know, especially since I've hit middle aged and I'm on the down slope, I don't usually. Listen to a whole lot of stuff that I don't know about. Like, I like reading a lot and watching YouTubes about space, you know, the beginning of the time universe and all that stuff.
I love reading that stuff, but I kind of know it, but I like it because it confirms that I know this stuff I'm on the right path. And so that's a tendency for me. I don't go too far out because it's like, ah, I'm too old to learn that now.
So when they do force me, or like you're saying, when it's readily available, and it has some value to it, it doesn't hurt to even force us old guys into doing some stuff sometimes.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: yeah. Yeah. [00:40:00] If you just happen upon it. Yeah. I mean, we'll send out a case and, you know, ask a question. It's like, oh, that's interesting. I'd like to know the answer to that. And, you know, I might open it up. I might not do the whole thing, but I'm, you know, reading through it and, and learning something. What's the worst hour of your week?
Hmm, I would say,well, I look, you know, I look at our finances once a week. and that's the, you know, that's sort of boring to me.
I don't love it. I know I need to do it. And you know, when it's successful, then it is fun.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Well, boring's a lot better than.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: yeah, yeah, I I've
Mike Koelzer, Host: but it's
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: It's just the numbers and, you know, having to delve into it and, you know, it's like, I want the, the fun stuff and the innovative, like, you know, what education are we gonna do next or talking to, you know, our team members or our faculty members that we hire.
and, you know, brainstorming strategic planning, that sort of thing. I love
all that. So it's when I have to sit down with the numbers and, and know I need to like, accomplish that. I'm sort of the visionary, so, that's not as easy for me. So it, it makes me tired when I have to do things that I'm
not that great at, and I have to try a little extra hard.
So, yeah, that's probably the biggest thing.
Mike Koelzer, Host: What's your hardest emotion to deal with, in your company?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Mm
mm.I would say radical candor is probably my hardest I don't know if that's an emotion, but, you know, I, I think the, the thing that nobody tells you when you own a business is the people are 90% of what you do. And even though we have fabulous people, if there's ever an issue that I have to deal with, that's hard for me.
That's hard for me because I make it a point to know people know about their personal lives. And, you know, it's when you're sitting here paying the paychecks, you know, it's really important to have a good rapport with
everyone. Business ownership is not for the faint of heart. and I think that's, that's what nobody really talks about is, it is hard, you're responsible for a lot of lives and, and that at the end of the day is really taxing. and particularly if it's not working out for some reason, because you know, I, I know that people are trying their hardest.
It just not, might not be the right fit for whatever
Mike Koelzer, Host: Out of those 15 employees, how many is it? Their full-time job. And how much is it like writing on the side, kind of doing whatever on the side.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: in those 15 people, I don't even count the people that we hire to do our content.
We do have some pharmacists on our team and so we do some of the content, but for the most part, we want people that are in practice and living that day to day. So we hire those people. So, I would say though, out of our 15, we have about three that are contracts.
so we have a graphic designer, you know, some, some people that do contractual work for us, we have a couple of students. so we have a media intern that does our media and, and some of that, we have another one that does some research for us. And then another one, that's a student ambassador, you know, that talks to other students at schools and, you know, kind of relates to them.
He's actually writing a blog right now. He's in his rotation year. So he is writing a blog every month, kind of like what that journey looks like.
So it's really fun. so a few of few of those kind of people, but for the
most part, everybody's full time,
Mike Koelzer, Host: you got like 10 to
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
We've done the part-time thing. And, you know, I think that's really hard. especially when you're remote, you know, everybody's working at different times and it's hard to schedule meetings and that
sort of thing. So, uh, we try to either have full-time or, or contr contractual people
Mike Koelzer, Host: What system do you use to kind of converse on all this?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: We have, we use a lot of collaboration tools. Asana is our big, yeah, we use that as really our communication and project management. And, we do, I would say the most work there.
we communicate internally via slack, so we try not to do internal emails unless it's a forward or, you know, something like that.
We use a toggle to track time. So we don't, you know, necessarily say like, you didn't work eight hours today. We trust people in that regard, but we utilize that to, you know, run reports. How much time are we spending on creating education, that sort of thing. and then with our external faculty, because we do hire external people to write a lot of our and do a lot of our content, we use base camp.
so that works really well. They can, you know, upload their PowerPoints or upload articles
and their CV and things like that.
So those are our primary ones.
Mike Koelzer, Host: That's kind of a hobby, like looking up, you know, the task management stuff and I'm always trying out new stuff and it's amazing how fast you can tell that something is not for you. You know, you can load it up. not giving it to your staff, but loading it up and you could spend about 20 minutes on something and just say, it just doesn't feel right for me,
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we did. We tried Monday, there's a few other ones that we tried along the way and we just found this worked the best. So we're, you know, it's always a struggle to use it to the best of, you know, our ability. cuz we're, you know, we're always trying to, oh, how do we do that better? But you know, those are, those are [00:45:00] kind of our staples.
we also use HubSpot as our
So I would say that's another big one that, you know, we use for things like marketing and sales communication. We do a lot of that,
Mike Koelzer, Host: Do you have a social media, one you use, like, I use hoot suite. Do you have a conglomerate for that?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: we have used Hootsuite, uh, currently we're not right now. We just, we have
one person who's kind of responsible for that. And so she has sort of her processes.
but yeah, we have used Hootsuite and that, that seems to work really well.
We've been communicating, you know, I would say really mostly through LinkedIn.
we do a lot and then because we have an app, we can do a lot of notifications through that as
well. So we try to stick to those. it can be hard, you know, just you're all over the place. So.
Mike Koelzer, Host: One of my brothers owns a computer, not owns. Is the president of a computer firm. He doesn't own it. He is the president of a hundred, some people. And their big thing is anytime something happens because they've gotta track all their hours. So anytime even an employee needs something from another employee, you gotta fill out a ticket.
You know? So everything's monitored. And my brother said, when he went in there, he said, one of the things I'm not doing is making a ticket out when I need something. When I need a, a plug in my desk done, and someone's walking by, I'm not gonna fill a ticket out, but
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah.
Mike Koelzer, Host: the things break down a little, you gotta find a happy medium.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Well, that's probably one of the challenges I would say, and, you know, is, is as you scale, you know, they always say like, when you add five, you know, at, at our stage, when you add a couple more people, like that takes different processes, you know? So that's been something I've been a real student of because we've grown from five to 10 to 15 people.
And each of those is really different, you know, growth, requires different things, but we, we sort of pride ourselves on not having tickets. even our customer service, you know, comes right into a person. and you know, she's able to really handle most things and, you know, she can triage that, but we don't, we don't have a ticket process.
And I know I, I load the day that we get that big
you wanna get that big, but you don't wanna get that big. So that's the, that's the struggle. Where's that sweet spot where you can still be, you know, real hands on, but, but
make things happen too.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Speaking about goals and so on, as you kind. Dream at night, on a good day when everything's feeling good and you're lying in bed at night, kind of saying how great things are, what is your dream for the business? How many people do you know well, and I know this isn't the monitor of that, but how many people do you think the business would work well with in your heart? What are some of the goals?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah. Uh, I would say, you know, I've always thought 25 to 30 people is a sweet spot. I mean, I've kind of got that chart, you know, where I would add people and what more we need in order to grow. We have applied to be a provider for BPS, the board of pharmaceutical specialties.
There are only certain providers that can provide that CE as well. So, so we're, we've, we've applied, to be one of those providers. So I am hopeful that that happens because I think we can make a real impact, for those pharmacists.
and I just, you know, I'd love to be the go to for people I would love, you know, when they hear about CE impact, it's like, yes, that is the best quality education. It's easy. The user experience is easy, it's fun and fresh. And, yeah, that would really be my goal and really to be able to use the app in the way that we wanna use it.
We want people to learn from each other. you know, whether you've been part of a Lister, you know, there's some really great stuff there. So if we can connect people so that they can learn from each other,
that that's a real dream of ours as well.
Mike Koelzer, Host: The government comes in and this is a day that we don't like the government, not a day where we like them. There's probably less of those that are mixed in there, but the government comes in and says, Jen, you are not allowed to do anything, pharmacy or medical related with your structure that you have now. So you've got these 15 people. not allowed to do anything medical, and you've gotta turn on a dime to make money for your company. What other industry would you flip to with your talents and maybe your infrastructure that wasn't medical.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Hmm. Wow. It's hard to go outside that box. What I thought you were gonna ask is if we couldn't have pharmacists or physicians as our customers, and then I was gonna say, I would love to educate patients about what they should expect from the healthcare system and, you know, do a mini pharmacy school or a mini medical school and give them the tools to advocate for their own healthcare.
so that they understand, you know, we say around here, if you don't have a healthcare professional in your family,
you're kind of screwed. . I mean, you really, like if you don't have that person to go to, to ask a second opinion or say, how do I navigate this? Or I don't know how people do it, that they don't have those, those medical people and their [00:50:00] families.
So I would love to provide something to the public that helps them to better understand how to navigate that system and to give them resources in order to do that.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Totally hypothetical. Where would your revenue come from that?
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: I think that the revenue would probably come from people who want to educate so pharmaceutical companies or, you know, those, those sorts of, of groups that have a need for patients to better understand
Mike Koelzer, Host: their healthcare. And then maybe since it's not like board certified, they could with full disclosure, they could slant something. They could spend more
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: yeah.
Mike Koelzer, Host: this drug or something like that.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah. I think you, you know, I think you could definitely do some advertising and you see that, you know, once in a while. but I think it'd be great for it to come from a reputable company. Source. So it, you know, again, there's so much information out there. What do you pay attention to? Oh, this is the best, you know, lotion for skincare.
Well that's cuz you sell it, you know, so it would be so great to have a non-biased group that's really providing that education to help people navigate the system. So, so I would stay, I know it wasn't your question, but I would stay in healthcare cuz I just, I feel so passionate about that, but I would flip it, and, and help patients to better understand
Mike Koelzer, Host: All right. Well now let's answer my question.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: well let's see.
Mike Koelzer, Host: what other profession would be in the learning business. profession could be in there that wasn't medical.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: You know, maybe teaching,What are innovative ways? I, you know, I think teachers are, so, I mean, they're valued by the people, you know, like us as parents who, you know, we know they're teaching our kids, but I think, you know, undervalued in terms of dollars and you know, how they're paid.
and so just giving them resources that help them to teach better, which they don't have to pay for, you know, giving, you know, if I, if I could just do that and not have them, you know, have any monetary, you know, commitment to that, I guess that would maybe be something, I
know. That's a really tough question.
Mike Koelzer, Host: teachers need a lot of that extra education too. I don't feel bad. My wife was a teacher, Jen, so don't get me going on that, you know, they've got this great nine month, a year job and they're out at three o'clock every day. And my thought is that they have this teacher's lounge and they just have the best time in that teacher's lounge. But there's a sign, you know, like Notre Dame football, when the, I don't know if you've seen it, but when the football
players go out, they tap this sign. The teachers had this thing up there and it says, even though they had this great time, it says, remember to keep bitching. That's a sign that they go out and they tap it and then it works for all.
And then they get, you know, the school boards and the strikes and they get more money and all this stuff. It's like, they're just in that teacher's lounge, you know, I've seen it, at our school we had, they had, you know, liquor and stuff in there. It's a great place to be. But when they walk out, it says, remember to, to not stop bitching. It's
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and maybe this is my optimistic, you know, view of life, but if they, you know, I think this is what happens in pharmacies too. You know, we went to pharmacy school because we wanted to help patients. We were so excited about the opportunity to do that and to, you know, to pass on that knowledge that we have to, to improve their healthcare.
And I think teachers are the same way. You know, they went to school, my daughter is a junior in college and she is Pollyanna about teaching. And I'm like, are you ready for this? You know, I'm not, this isn't what I'm hearing. but she is just so excited to make an impact on these kids. And then you just get into the job and it's a job and it's day after day.
Mike Koelzer, Host: And so if we could, if we can provide resources to people that you know, that keep them, keep that passion alive for why they did it in the first place. I think that would be super rewarding. Seriously, it's not an easy job dealing with the kids. It's worse dealing with the parents and they do have the stress of having to have so many credit hours, like in five years they have to get their masters or something like that. That would not be an easy path. And something like yours would be cool, you know, if they could somehow, especially like, with the online stuff of it, just make that an easier vision for those people that have a lot of requirements in their first few years.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Mm-hmm or, you know, provide them with that resource of other teachers, giving them, you know, cool and innovative ideas of things to do in their classroom, or, you know, it's just, I, I feel like that's what happened to me when I bought the business. I, I really started just absorbing everything I could about business and, you know, you're, you know, you own a business when you're.
An owner, you are alone a lot of times. And you know, I think maybe those teachers can feel like that in a classroom. They're it? You know? So if you can be supported by other people and, and, you know, have people energizing you and you know, it's gonna be okay and, you know, giving you ideas, and helping to keep you positive and, and engaged.
That just helps. We
all look for that. We all [00:55:00] need motivational stuff, you know, every day to kind of keep us going,
keep the compass.
Mike Koelzer, Host: In pharmacy there's been some Rocky roads and we need the motivation to keep going, but when things get Rocky for me at. It helps to know that there's other pharmacists that are maybe going down a few feet in the water, you know, bouncing up and down a little bit, just helps to know that you're all kind of in the same boat.
And that's where that connection helps also.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Yeah, I think so. And, and just to, you know, just to get some ideas about what you can do to change it, you know, I mean, it's, it is, it's so hard to watch the profession right now and, you know, if you feel alone and like, you're the only one dealing with it, that can make it worse. So I agree. We're kind of all need to need to feel that together, but, you know, if we can, if we can use education in that way
to continue to advance and innovate and, you know, keep people learning and
moving forward. I, I, I think hopefully we can impact that.
Mike Koelzer, Host: Well, Jen. Pleasure meeting you. Great having you on.
There's so much information that is done by people that have the right focus is a real big thing. So thanks for your help and keep it going.
Jennifer Moulton, Pharmacist: Thank you. It was great to be here and, and thanks so much for the invitation. And I would just encourage people to continue on their path, to lifelong learning and just find a partner out there. Find somebody that you know, and trust the education that they're providing, and keep up the good work to all the pharmacists out there.
we're behind you. We're supporting you whether it's through education or, or other things. I feel really strongly about the profession and, and know we're doing all the right stuff. So
Thanks again for having me love your podcast.